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Can Welsh butchers and farmers survive the rise in veganism?

Adam runs a vegan restaurant in Cardiff and Steve is a farmer and butcher in Brecon

A reported 3.5 million people in the UK are now opting for a vegan diet.

In the face of the growing trend of veganism, campaigns led by the meat and dairy industry have been launched to promote produce and protect livelihoods of farmers.

Credit: PA Images

The number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2018, according to the Vegan Society.

Recent research revealed 3.25% of adults in the UK never eat meat of any form as part of their diet - and 'Veganuary', a campaign for the month of January encouraging people to become vegan, saw 500,000 people take part.

Bakery firm Greggs hailed the "enthusiastic reception" and "extraordinary" level of coverage surrounding its vegan sausage roll, which helped spur a spike in footfall since its January launch.

Steve Morgan runs a butchers in Brecon

Steve Morgan, a farmer and butcher, runs a family business in Brecon.

He said he knows colleagues who have received threats from vegans who believe animals should not be bred to be eaten.

You've got your choice. I've got my choice and let's leave it at that.

Don't go round vandalising businesses and vandalising properties.

What we've got to do is make sure that everybody enjoys what they eat.

If they have tremendous fun from a tomato - that's fine. But I have tremendous fun from a sirloin steak.

– Steve Morgan, Butcher and farmer

“Red” meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer - with some experts calling on a "meat tax" to prevent thousands of deaths a year.

By 2020, the World Health Organisation said consumption of red and processed meat was likely to cause 2.4 million deaths per year and cost the global economy 285 billion US dollars (£219 billion).

But butchers like Steve say meat is part of a balanced diet, with Wales being famous for products like Welsh lamb - and his industry can be doing more to promote the benefits of their produce.

The number of people in the UK who maintain a vegetarian or vegan diet 100% is believed to be around 2% - 3% of the population

The number of people in the UK who maintain a vegetarian or vegan diet 100% is believed to be around 2% - 3% of the population, according to the Vegetarian Society.

Adam El-Tagoury runs vegan cafe Anna Loka in Cardiff. He said veganism does "obviously threaten the meat industry" but he can empathise with farmers as "their way of life is at risk."

"It just means that they need to adapt and move with the times. The country always needs to catch up with the city and obviously, being from the Valleys, it takes time for dietary things to change but places like Cardiff have become a hub for veganism."